KEA safety audit confirms its database was not hacked

It suspects that student information was leaked by third party at help desk

The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), after conducting a safety audit of its systems in the wake of a slew of complaints from parents and students alleging that their personal data was in the hands of private institutions, has said that its database had not been hacked. However, officials suspect the information leak may have happened at the helpline desk where personnel had access to students’ details.

The findings of the audit conducted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) on Monday are contrary to a police complaint the KEA had filed alleging that private company had hacked its database.

Technical support

The NIC provides technical support to the KEA right from registration of candidates to the counselling process. Vikas Kishor Suralkar, executive director, KEA, said the audit revealed that the database was safe.

Sources revealed that the data was allegedly leaked by third-party personnel at the help desk as the data was not protected by password. “In the process, some information such as students’ personal details including name and phone number as well as those of parents may have been accessed by the third party,” said a source.

After parents and students alleged that their personal data, which they had submitted in online application forms, had been compromised, the KEA lodged a police complaint against a private company for reportedly hacking into its system. When contacted, KEA officials, however pointed out that while the complaint was lodged in July, an FIR was registered only last week.

The Higher Education Department is also exploring if the data leak had any connection with the medical seat-blocking scam. The department is not ruling out the possibility of the data being used by agents to approach candidates and involve them in the medical-seat scam.

The KEA conducts the Common Entrance Test, the gateway to professional courses including engineering, agriculture, and D. Pharm. For this purpose, personal details of students and their parents, including mobile phone numbers, are collected and stored in a database.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:46:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kea-safety-audit-confirms-its-database-was-not-hacked/article30090321.ece

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